Gaming Zen 1/16/06

Aloha everyone. I’m Tom Pandich, and I am incredibly exhausted. Last week was absurdly long and my first day off was spent looking for a car after mine was totaled when some asshole crashed their car into our driveway. I ended up with a silver 2004 Kia Spectra that drives like a dream and is quiet as a mouse. Needless to say, this car will burst into flames by the end of the year just because that’s how my life seems to go. Lots to get to this week (isn’t there always) and more importantly, I have lots of other stuff to get accomplished by the end of this long weekend.


So no flames this week which pleasantly surprised me a bit, but Terry e-mailed me again and I have officially lost him as a reader by calling him “Teddy”. Way to be an asshat Tom. I am super sorry Terry! Anywho, here’s the e-mail:

Hey thanks for posting my letter. That was quite a neat surprise. I agree with you that overall the 360 is successful as they systems are selling so well many cannot get one that want one. You mentioned something interesting when you said PS3 might make the focus return to the games and not the system hype. I think Nintendo has a really good chance to do something along those lines. I was wary of the new controller at first but when I realized they are basically making a mouse for a console it kind of caught on to me, if they bundle one of those “shells” then I don’t really see how much harder it could be to program any game for from a developer point of view. As of right now though I am most likely to buy a PS3, if history repeats itself then most of what I want to play will come out on it (Metal Gear Solid and others) and what does not I can probably live without. To be honest ever since I got a new PC I have been getting more into PC gaming. Anyway great column and thanks again for running my letter.

Well last week I tried to stifle my Nintendo fanboyism about the Revolution (see, I clarified so my DS fanboyism was fine last week) in the first letter he sent to me. I’m excited about the system more so then I have been about a system in a long time. I’ve never felt extremely wild about any Playstation exclusive series (yes I know Metal Gear is on every system now, but bear with me). GTA never did much for me, neither did Tekken, Twisted Metal, and so forth. Same thing with PC games (MMORPGs, Strategy, FPS, and so forth also don’t do much for me).

You know what, I’m going just post what I said to Terry mostly because it addresses his letter and my rambling really doesn’t. “Personally, I’m going to pick up a Revolution at launch and maybe a PS3 as well depending on my cash situation. I really like some of the 360 games, it’s just that there are more negatives going on about the system then positives. As far as the Revolution goes, I really think Nintendo can potentially put out a great system with it. I was in love with the controller from day one, but I’m a little wary of how they’re going to get third party developers. On the one hand, companies like Sega, Konami, and Namco will use it in innovative ways. On the other hand, I don’t see EA doing anything with it other then some sort of mini game for Madden 07. The PS3 will probably end up with the most games just because of loyalty to the brand name in the first two years, but that could very easily change. Again, it could go a bunch of different ways but if the Revolution is at a quarter of the price the PS3 or 360 like some analysts have projected, it’ll be everyone’s second system for the exclusives. Most people can’t afford two $400 systems but they can afford a $400 system and a $100 system even if just for Smash Brothers, Metroid, and Legend of Zelda.”

So there you go. That’s why I think the Revolution will succeed. As for what I’ll pick up, I’ll end up with a PS3 mostly because I care more about the two generations of games I already own and maybe a 360 once it drops in price. So that’s that and that’s it for the letters.


There wasn’t any huge news this week outside of a lot of games got announced. Konami is developing a new arcade mix of DDR. The big surprise is that DDR Super Nova will be developed for a North American audience. This brings to mind two questions. Does Konami realize just how dead the arcade scene is in the United States, and can it please be better then DDR USA?

In non-DDR news, Sony announced Blu-Ray discs will begin production in February. That’s not really big news, just an eventuality. Bundling the rest of the Sony news, this is the first week in forever that the PSP has outsold the DS in Japan. This comes despite the DS dominating the Top Ten game sales in Japan. This might be because of last week’s news that there may be a DS shortage in Japan. In other news, Square-Enix announced that the Front Mission series has shipped three million units and Final Fantasy XII will ship 2 million copies on its March 16th release.

In gaming news that makes me personally smile, two big games are coming to the DS. The first, Tetris DS, seemed pretty inevitable. What’s cool is that not only will this game offer Wi-Fi and wireless play (10 people on one cart) but also there will be several Nintendo themed modes, each mode utilizing the DS abilities and a different Nintendo game as a theme (Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers, etc).

The big announcement of the week is a brand new Mega Man series. Rockman ZX is a brand new take on the Mega Man series. It looks like a platformer from the initial screenshots, but the DS will offer quite a few DS exclusive features (none of which I personally know). Still, this completely screws the Mega Man Mania/Anniversary Collection preview I wrote yesterday. Ah well, it’ll be interesting to see what Capcom does with the DS this time.

Top Ten

Last week’s top ten list was really me just not having any ideas for a decent top ten list. Today though, I’ve given some thought about it and have come up with a much better list. That’s right, here is your top ten for the week. Since Mark B started a column of shit games last week with Alf, I thought I’d do something similar to Alf in honor of his new column. So here it is, the most pointless and stupid video game cash ins ever (in no particular order).

Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing: George Lucas really would stamp anything that would make a buck for Star Wars back when Episode I came out. From the ridiculously bad KFC/Pizza Hut/Taco Bell toy tie in to the Jar Jar Binks tongue lollypop, he just loved squeezing every dollar he could out of Americans. The Star Wars cart racer was probably the most heinous example of this.

Shaq Fu: Shaq Fu ranks up there as one of the worst ideas for a video game period. Let’s take the exploding popularity of Shaquille O’Neal and place him in a fighting game where he has to battle mummies and shit like that. Since then, Shaq Fu has contributed more to the gaming culture then we could ever hope for as a hilarious cautionary tale.

Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game: Imagine if Street Fighter II had motion captured actors rather then sprites. Now imagine that this mo-cap is one of the worst in history. Then suck all of the joy and happiness out of Street Fighter II. What you’re left with is this abortion of a game that is as pointless as it was bad.

Yo! Noid: They really would release any game on the NES, wouldn’t they? This game is Capcom’s fault… again. Take the mascot for Dominos Pizza in the late eighties and early nineties and put him in a haunted house. Then after every level, have him engage in a turn based card game that is a pizza eating contest. This wasn’t so much a bad game as it was a ridiculously stupid concept for a game. At least the 7up Dots looked cool in their game. The Noid was never cool, just annoying and lame.

WWE: Crush Hour: Perhaps the most hilarious adaptation of all time. WWE Crush Hour is a vehicular combat game. With wrestlers. Driving wrestling themed cars. Yep, that’s all I’ve got.

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen: Sweet Sixteen: OMG! IT’S THE GIRLS 16 BIRTHDAY AND THEY CAN GET A DRIVER’S LISCENCE AND THEY’RE HAVING A BIRTHDAY PARTY TO PLAY A BUNCH OF MINI GAMES!!! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?! Not at all. In fact, this is the exact opposite of awesome. It is actually pretty shitty.

The Simpsons Wrestling: Oh Simpsons. Why can’t you ever, ever, ever realize that you’ll never equal the Simpsons Arcade Game? The Simpsons Wrestling and the Simpsons Skateboarding are pretty awful but the former ends up being by far the worse of the two. It’s a buggy awful game that should have never been made.

American Idol (for the GBA): Honestly, a karaoke game makes sense for this. A game where you try and time your button pushing right for shitty midi versions of almost popular game does not. This game defies explanation. Awful, awful, awful.

Playboy: The Mansion: The idea of being Hugh Heffner is pretty cool. The idea of decorating Hugh Heffner’s mansion is not. The huge amount of crappiness contained in this game is really astounding. This is the biggest example on this list of a logo being slapped on to a crappy game that sold only because of the name.

ET: The Extra Terrestrial: Was there really any doubt that this game would make the list? This game along with Daikatana and Duke Nukem Forever are pretty much regarded as the running jokes of gaming history.

Games I’m Playing

Mostly retreads of what I’ve been playing with a few new additions. I played a bit more Prince of Tennis, SSX on Tour, Trauma Center: Under the Knife, and some F-Zero GP Legends. There is some new stuff though.

Mega Man X Collection: This is a pretty solid collection that I’m reviewing after I finish this column and will probably be up by Tuesday. Between this and the Mega Man Anniversary Collection preview I put together, I’m a bit Mega Man’d out though. That’s ok though. I’ll get over it.

Sigma Star Saga: How awesome is this game? Pretty damn awesome I say. I picked this up at Best Buy (price dropped to $15). It’s a nice blend of shooter and RPG. I’m a bit miffed by how mediocre the soundtrack is and how useless some of the guns are but I like this game a lot.

Game Deal of the Week

This is yet another slow week for deals. Outside of the price drop of Sigma Star Saga at Best Buy, my recommendation of the week has to go to CompUSA. They’re offering the very good Forza Motorsports for a mere 20 bucks. Couple that with the fact that they’re having a pretty decent clearance right now (many stores are also running Buy one/two, Get one free on those clearance games) and they’re well worth checking out. Other deals are Wild Arms 4 for the PS2 at Circuit City for just 30 dollars and they’re also tossing in a free copy of Nintendogs (any of the three versions you want) if you buy a DS at $129.99. That’s not a bad deal at all especially if you can scam the Double Dash DS into your cart or you can find a blue DS packaged with Super Mario 64 DS.

Game of the Week

This week is a pretty slim week. The first MLB-less EA baseball game is out (MVP College Baseball 06) along with 25 to Life and a few new Ape Escape games. This week we’ll give the Game of the Week to…. *drum roll*….. APE ESCAPE 3! Why does Ape Escape 3 win game of the week? Because there’s not a damn thing I have any interest in this week and Ape Escape 3 is something quite a few people enjoy.

That’s it for this week’s column. I’m sure you’ll be seeing me around the pulse this week as I have a shitload of things to post this week. Between film and DVD reviews, game previews and reviews, a tv recap or two, and (hopefully not) wrasslin, I’ve got no personal life anymore. That’s ok though because I’m broke as a joke. I still have a nearly new car though and it makes me feel all funny in the pants in a good way. Later all.